Rabbis say Christians who share the gospel with Jews use deception and mind control.

Leading Jewish spokesmen are the first to acknowledge that Christian evangelism has had an impact on the Jewish community. In the last two decades, tens of thousands of people have abandoned Judaism to become Christians. Some Jewish leaders fear for the future of their religion in this country.

In addition to Christian evangelism, cults are partly responsible for the exodus of young Jews. To combat that exodus, the Jewish community in recent years has stepped up its efforts to keep its sheep in the fold.

Malcolm Hoenlein, director of the New York-based Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), in the mid-1970s launched a Task Force on Missionaries and Cults. As its name implies, Jewish leaders see little difference between losing people to cults and losing them to Christianity.

“Every major Jewish community has a task force to deal with the missionary and cult problem,” says Rabbi Ben-Tzion Kravitz, director of the antimissionary Chabad Counteraction Program in Los Angeles. These concerns, Kravitz says, are shared by Jews across the theological spectrum. “The truth is that the large majority of Hebrew Christians know relatively little about Judaism. [They] embrace Christianity … out of ignorance.” Kravitz and others try to educate their Jewish constituencies in hopes of making them resistant to evangelism.

Such efforts have helped create public relations headaches for Jewish Christian organizations such as the San Franciso-based Jews for Jesus. Widely respected among evangelicals, the group was listed as a cult alongside Moonies and Hare Krishnas on the jacket of the recently published book Mindbending (Doubleday).

“The Jewish people to whom ...

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